Chapter Ten

Severus pulled Hermione into a dark alcove where he often found students snogging on weekends. Wouldn't it be ironic if one of them were to stumble upon him now, having deducted hundreds of points for doing just this? Of course, his intentions, if not honorable, were much more so than those of any hormone driven teenager. And from the way she responded, he surmised that Hermione didn't care too much about his intentions, honorable or not, as long as he kept kissing her. But that wasn't the reason he had dragged her back here, not the main reason anyway.

"How about a mansion and no kids?" he asked, pulling back and studying her face. He wanted to memorize the look that crossed her face as comprehension dawned; it was priceless.

"That's the most romantic proposal I've ever heard of," she said. The sarcasm in her voice was not lost on him.

"It's the best you can expect to get, from me anyway. I can't comment on your numerous other suitors."

"You know you're the only one for me," she purred into his ear, making his blood run hot. He pushed her further into the wall, covering her mouth with his.

"Well?" he said, finally lifting his head.

"A house and three kids," she countered with a mischievous smile.

"A mansion and one."

"Do you even have a mansion?" she asked.

"Have I finally hit upon the one question that you are incapable of answering?" She frowned, while he scowled. It was unfair of her to make him squirm like this, waiting for her reply.

"Yes," she said after several moments. It had felt like an eternity to him.

"Yes what?" he asked, just for clarification. Yes, she would marry him or yes, he had asked the one question she couldn't answer.

"Yes, I'll marry you, Sevie."

"I believe I once told you I wouldn't marry you if you called me that horrible name."

"Are you taking back your offer, then?" she asked saucily.

"No, I'm just warning you, Hermie, that I won't tolerate such nonsense from any future wife of mine," he said while he nipped at her neck.

"Consider me warned."

"Good," he said. Straightening up, he looked deeply into her brown eyes while pushing the hair away from her face.

"I love you," she said softly.

"I love you too," he replied, taking her hand and leading her from the tiny alcove. They walked in companionable silence for several minutes, until he noticed she was peering up at him, curiosity crossing her features.

"What?" he snapped.

"Do you really have a mansion?"

"Is it really important to you? Are you marrying me for my money?" he asked sarcastically.

"No," she said somewhat chagrined.

"Good, because I don't have a lot."

"But you have a mansion?"

"A castle, really—Snape Castle in the north of England. It's drafty, damp, and haunted by several annoying ghosts."

"No wonder you like the dungeons—it's just like home."

"Except further away, which is its biggest asset." She smiled, but didn't say anything more.

They walked on but instead of leading them down into the dungeons towards his rooms, he took her outside. It was nice to be back at Hogwarts. Ironic really, since he had once likened it to a prison. But it had been better than 12 Grimmauld Place, and anything was better than Azkaban. Now that the war was over, he was free from both places. He had already turned in his resignation letter, and had rented a small cottage. He knew Hermione had accepted his former position as Potions professor, and he hoped that they could live in marital bliss, (or as close to it as he could hope to achieve,) in Hogsmeade.

Wandering around the grounds, hand in hand, he was surprised at her continued silence. He rather thought after he proposed to her, (and she had accepted,) that she would be all atwitter about the details of their wedding, the details of their marriage, the details of their future life together. He was a little dismayed at her lack of enthusiasm, frankly, especially after he had prepared himself for such an onslaught.

"Not that I'm complaining, but why are you so quiet?" he asked. She looked up at him in surprise. He had interrupted deep thoughts indeed.

"I cheated."

"What?" he whispered, dropping her hand as if he had been burned. Was it Potter? A Weasley? When had it happened? And in Merlin's name why was she telling him about it now, right after accepting his proposal of marriage?

"When we fought that first time, really fought, and we played that stupid game again…well, you were supposed to marry McGonagall, but I cheated and circled my name instead. I just didn't think we should give up because one time out of twenty-five times it didn't come out me." She wasn't making any sense…what game?

"So you've never slept with Potter?" She gaped at him.

"No! Oh no! Is that what you thought?"

"Or Weasley? You've never kissed them, touched them, or even thought about them in the same way as me?"

"No, no, no. I cheated on the game; I would never cheat on this relationship. I just thought you should know. You seemed to put all your faith in that game, and I wanted you to know that it didn't always come out me, but that I chose you. And well, now that you know, I hope you choose me too." She wiped a tiny tear that had escaped, and he felt a twinge of guilt. But really, what was he supposed to think when she said 'I cheated.' Pulling her into his arms, he kissed her forehead.

"I do choose you. Without a Dark Lord to spy on, an Order to make potions for, and, thank heavens, no more dunderheads to teach, my life would be very dull indeed without you there to nag and irritate me." She frowned at him, and he realized that perhaps this was not the time for sarcasm. "What I'm trying to say, is that I love you. You make my life worth living and I look forward to our life together."

"No matter what a silly Divination parlor trick says?"

"Well, I can't totally discount it. It did light the spark," he said, nuzzling her hair.

"I suppose it did." She kissed him, softly, lightly. "But I still think that Divination is utter rot."

"Whatever you say, Hermie."

"Shut up and kiss me, Sevie."

"Did you tell them it was just a game you learned at your muggle primary school?" Parvati whispered to Lavender.

"Of course not. Do you think they would be getting married if they thought it was a hoax?" Lavender hissed.

"I suppose not," Parvati conceded. "I wonder why Hermione didn't know, she is muggleborn after all."

"She probably had her nose stuck in a book and couldn't be bothered to play silly games with the other girls—the same as at Hogwarts." Parvati nodded in agreement. Suddenly she grabbed Lavender by the arm.

"You don't think it really is real, do you?" she asked nervously, almost panicked.

"No," Lavender answered. "Why?"

"I'm just thinking that 'Ravenclaw nose-picker' came up a lot for me." Lavender tried to stifle a laugh but she ended up snorting nonetheless.

"Don't laugh," Parvati snapped. "If it is a true predictor then you are going to marry Crabbe."

"No, I'll marry Oliver Wood," Lavender replied tersely. It was Parvati's turn to laugh.

"In your dreams," she retorted. Lavender crossed her arms and turned her attention back to the proceedings. It was a beautiful ceremony, even if it was Hermione and Professor Snape.


A/N: 'Ravenclaw nose-picker' pays tribute to my sorority sisters who often wrote down 'Rolly Back Pack Guy' on my lists. There was also a guy named Bob, but insisted on spelling Bahb. This is what happens when you go to a tiny private college in the middle of nowhere, but it makes for good fan fiction.Don't forget to tell me what you think ina review!